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Fuck ‘Em Up Toddy!

June 3, 2009

So I’ve been trying to get a post up about the banksters who are giving themselves the five finger discount while labor just sits on their thumbs. But I woke up this morning with a song stuck in my head and got distracted. But then I thought why not combine the two so here we go. This song may not have a single thing to do with bank fraud or unions, but the chorus could be the rallying cry for the pissed off and disenfranchised everywhere who have had their savings drained or their car repo-ed or lost their job.

Whaddya do when some friggin’ cocksucker friggin’ not only scratches your truck, but threatens to take down the whole auto industry? You fuck’em up dude.

Unfortunately here in the US we seem to have lost that fighting spirit. While the oligarchs rob us blind, workers continue to take concession after concession. Now GM is going into bankruptcy and tens of thousands of workers will be out of a job. When all is said and done the taxpayer will be on the hook for about $50 billion and workers won’t get their jobs back because GM already plans to send those jobs to China. Not only that, but once GM is restructured the UAW will be own 17% or so of the company stock, which they had to take in an attempt to salvage their health care fund, but will still not have a significant role in how the company is run. But not to worry says Mr. Egghead academic because the unions will still have clout with the politicians.

“The unions at United had board seats, plenty of equity and a very contentious relationship with management,” Shaiken [Harley Shaiken, professor at University of California-Berkeley and longtime observer of the U.S. auto industry] said. “Even with all that, the workforce’s level of governance was very limited. The formal role of governance for the UAW is even much smaller than what we saw in the airline industry.”

Where the UAW will have influence, according to Shaiken, is in Washington.

Riiiiiight. Surely the politicians will listen. The ones who promised on the campaign trail to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed quickly but are now busy watering it down in response to complaints from corporate lobbyists and are rendering the bill essentially toothless in the event they actually have get around to voting on it at all.

But not all people are so complacent in the face of their livelihoods being stripped from them as the banksters loot and pillage. Those we like to refer to as “surrender monkeys” still put up their le ducs and have been hitting the streets and holding CEOs hostage to let the oligarchs know they aren’t going down without a fight. Or as former labor rep David Macaray puts it:

Although people joke about France’s laid back, c’est la vie attitude, let’s give French workers credit for knowing how to respond to an outrage. When corporations try to tell French workers they’re going to slash their health care benefits or mess with their pensions, the workers behave the way people should behave when the wealthy and powerful try to snow them. They go totally ape-shit.

And there’s more on recent and not-so-recent labor demonstrations in France from Marc Perelman at The Nation:

In April 1968 workers at a factory of Sud Aviation in Nantes, France, began a strike to protest the decision by the company to cut their hours and wages. A month later, they decided to lock themselves–and their boss–inside the plant. They were soon joined by leftist students, a turning point that transformed a series of youth protests into a nationwide social movement that nearly toppled the government of Charles de Gaulle.

Four decades later, de Gaulle’s heir, President Nicolas Sarkozy, is facing massive street demonstrations, a rash of “boss-nappings” and the resurgence of the far left. To be sure, no new French revolution is in sight. But Sarkozy, whose popularity has eroded sharply since his election in May 2007, has warned of France’s “eruptive” nature and is careful to remind his fellow citizens constantly that the main culprits of the economic meltdown are Wall Street, greedy bosses and tax havens–not him.

His concern is not so much the two massive one-day demonstrations, in January and March, against the crisis. Or that for the first time since World War II, all major trade unions will march together instead of separately during the May 1 Labor Day celebration. Rather, for someone who won the presidency two years ago on a law-and-order platform, the resurgence of radical actions is far more unsettling. On March 12, the CEO of Sony France was held by workers in a plant that was about to close; he was released the next day after agreeing to pay more generous severance packages. Since then, employees of a 3M pharmaceutical factory held an executive overnight after layoffs were announced for nearly half of them. In addition, three British executives in a Scapa Group adhesive-tape plant; the bosses at Faure et Machet, a printer plant that lost its contract with Hewlett-Packard; and two managers at the US car equipment plant Molex have been “sequestered,” according to the authorities–“withheld” in trade-union parlance. At the US-owned Caterpillar plant near Grenoble, workers protesting a plan to sack more than 700 of them blocked the entrance for four days, until they were granted a meeting at the Ministry of the Economy.

So how long will it be before people here have finally had enough? When will the sabots start flying at shareholder meetings? When will labor finally decide to throw a wrench in the works? When will citizens turn the tables and start making CEOs offers they can’t refuse?

It’s high time to fuck ’em up toddy!

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    June 3, 2009 9:27 am

    Feckin’ ear worms!! I’d just got rid of it and now…. fuckem up Toddy, fuckem up doood, fuckkillim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    It would make a good anthem that way, catchy, funny and poignant.

    I keep waiting for the sabots to fly at the ruling class too, but I think the Fascists bushistas scared the living shit out of us. We have become soft and too attached to our comforts and possessions. Until enough people get to the place where there is no more fear of what can be lost, then the tables will turn, or maybe when there is a larger common enemy of the squid variety or perhaps Chinese.

    It is already getting close to that bad economically in pockets, in Michigan and Ohio certainly and in places around the NW and in other high unemployment regions. Some counties are already at official 25% unemployment, which means it is really much higher. Those places will either become ghost towns or people will eventually do something different.

    I thought the Greek uprisings would have evolved into something bigger, but it fizzled. Maybe it isn’t just us gringos who are suppressed. Maybe the culture of kostapo has broken our spirits in the real world overall.

    Fuckemup, fuckin overlords of greed, feckin bankstas

    I’ll go post a modified version of this comment at fsz too.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 3, 2009 9:28 am

      What was it that howardx told us to sing to kill earworms? Sanford and Sons?

      Must find it.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 3, 2009 11:18 am

        Ha! Yeah that was howardx who suggested the song and then one of us pulled up the hand fart version.

        • Stemella permalink*
          June 3, 2009 10:38 pm

          Toddy is a definite earworm. It is almost Sanford & Son proof. It stuck with me all day. You may have to suffer for this! ;) I have an arsenal.

  2. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2009 5:57 am

    I should never have unleashed toddy. Been stuck in my head for three days now. oh lord what have I done?!?!?!?! I deserve whatever you throw at me. Do your worst! :)

    Maybe this will help –

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 4, 2009 6:13 am

      It is too early for this, I am getting an ear worm just reading the title!
      That is the problem with worms, as the inflictor you are not immune. It is good enough that Toddy has driven you nuts too! haha

  3. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2009 6:19 am

    Here’s something about Obama’s latest statements regarding health care from the Boston Globe. The teaser roped me in:

    Laying out in the clearest terms yet what he wants in a healthcare overhaul, President Obama told Congress yesterday that he strongly believes Americans should have the choice of a new public health insurance plan that would compete against private insurers.

    So I’m thinking if I read the article I’m going to find some details. But no such luck. Here’s the most detail I could find:

    In a detailed two-page letter to key senators released yesterday, the president wrote that he wants to “fully offset the cost of healthcare reform” by cutting an additional $200 billion to $300 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade, on top of the $309 billion reduction he has already proposed in the government’s two main healthcare programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled.

    So I guess the public option won’t be expanding Medicare and Medicaid and making it available to everybody seeing as he wants to slash spending on the two programs that already do a far better job of keeping administrative costs down than private plans do. Not sure how creating a public option by slashing the existing public programs is supposed to make things better. Then there was this:

    He said he would like to create a health insurance exchange – a kind of Travelocity for health insurance, something like the one Massachusetts created in its 2006 law – to make shopping for insurance easy and the prices transparent.

    Pretty vague if you ask me and I’m not sure why politicians keep telling us the more options we have the better off we’ll be. That obviously has not led to lower costs and has just brought more confusion. If I have an axe in my forehead, I’m not really looking to shop around for the best insurance plan options – I just want a doctor to get it the hell off my skull. Going to the doctor isn’t even remotely close to shopping for a new pair of shoes, but politicians keep telling us that health care is just another consumer product. And while transparent prices might be nice, they aren’t much good if you still can’t afford them and I don’t see much that says any of this will get cheaper. In his meeting with insurance industry types a few weeks ago all they did was promise that hypothetically prices wouldn’t go up quite so fast for the next ten years or so as they have been and that somehow that would “save” us lots of money when it doesn’t actually reduce costs at all.

    And then there was this:

    Obama opened and closed his letter with an appeal for cooperation with Republicans, and with business and health industry lobbies who helped torpedo the Clinton plan. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee and a vigorous opponent of a public insurance plan, praised the letter, which he said “doesn’t draw lines in the sand,” and the president’s “commitment to a bipartisan outcome.”

    I think we should all be aware of what cooperating with republicans means by now – that republicans get exactly what they want.

    Rather than laying anything out in clear terms, this sounds like more equivocating bullshit to me.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 4, 2009 10:28 am

      Here’s another take on Obama’s plan to reform Medicare

      “To identify and achieve additional savings, I am also open to your ideas about giving special consideration to the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a commission created by a Republican Congress,” writes Barack Obama in his letter to Sens. Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus. “Under this approach, MedPAC’s recommendations on cost reductions would be adopted unless opposed by a joint resolution of the Congress. This is similar to a process that has been used effectively by a commission charged with closing military bases, and could be a valuable tool to help achieve health care reform in a fiscally responsible way.”

      Just remember kids: You read it here first. But suggesting this is Congress’s idea doesn’t quite fit. The main congressional legislation on this issue is Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s MedPAC Reform Act. Rockefeller would transform MedPAC into an executive branch agency that would act much like a Federal Reserve for Medicare: Commissioners would be confirmed by Congress for six-year terms and their recommendations would be automatically implemented.

      The worry of the White House — and some others — is that there is good reason that Medicare should not be taken fully from Congress. The program’s revenue, after all, flows through the Finance Committee. The program’s constituents — not just industry, but seniors — have an active, and occasionally even productive, relationship with the legislative branch. And though monetary policy has substantial effects on individual lives, its inherent complexity tends to discourage popular attention. There are very few street protests that are explicitly about interest rate cuts. Not so for Medicare. Health care is very personal.

      From personal experience with the fucked up medical system in this country I have to say the only way it will be any good to us is to make it not a commodity ie not for profit.

      I think you are correct about the equivocating bullshit. I remember when Obama announced his new econ/finance team that the Office of Budget Management Director, Peter Orszag, was very interested in mucking around with Medicare/Medicaid. The flashing lights went off as he spoke. And yes, I just found this, which indicated Orzag is behind all this:

      From a NYT op-ed Medicare, Start the Bidding

      The White House budget director, Peter Orszag, has highlighted regional variations as a key source of overspending on health care. Such wasteful spending by Medicare and by private insurance could add up to as much as $700 billion a year — enough to provide insurance for everyone who doesn’t have it now.

      To realize some of these savings, Medicare could use an approach called a reverse Dutch auction to set up competition for doctors in oversupplied regions.

      Here is how it would work. Later this year, the agency would set a 2010 target number for each type of specialist in an oversupplied region. Then it would offer to sign up those doctors at a certain payment rate. The starting rate would be, say, $30 per doctor work unit. (Work units are a measurement that Medicare uses to set its rates; each procedure is assigned a specific number of work units.) This is lower than the $36 per work unit that Medicare pays all doctors today. If too few specialists signed up, the rate would go up, and it would keep rising until there were enough doctors for the area.

      In areas where there are too few doctors, Medicare could pay more than $36 per work unit, attracting not only specialists but also the primary-care doctors who are so needed in these places.

      I anticipate a few objections to this plan. People might worry, for instance, that some Medicare patients might no longer be able to consult their favorite doctors. But any doctors who did not sign up during the auction could still sign up as “nonparticipating providers.” Medicare already reimburses such doctors at a rate that is only 5 percent lower than the standard rate.

      Then there is the question of whether both Medicare and participating doctors would be prepared to engage in bidding. The answer is yes. Medicare has already procured other goods and services — everything from wheelchairs to claims processing — through competitive bidding. And doctors have long had to haggle with commercial insurers over their rates.

      ~snip

      Of course, it would be nice if our Medicare system did not need to treat the important work doctors do as a commodity. But Medicare already regards all doctors as suppliers of equivalent services by paying them all the same fees for the same services. A competitive bidding system could hold down spending without reducing access to doctors or hurting the quality of care.

      I need to read up more on all of this as much of the current medical system seems to be a quagmire to me, but my instincts say Orszag is going to screw us over, taking away the public option we already have. I’m not against government efficiency by any means, but I worry that the result of this reform will be less fairness and better money making for those who already don’t need it. I simply don’t trust the govt to do the right thing.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 4, 2009 11:31 am

        Agree about Orszag. I don’t even want to hear about wasteful spending within Medicare/caid when it’s been shown that the administrative costs are extremely low compared to private insurance. Sounds to me like they are looking to gin up an excuse to cut those programs. And this Dutch reverse whatever sounds way too convoluted to be practical. I simply don’t see why we can’t get Medicare/caid for everyone, paid for by tax dollars, and when you go to the hospital you are taken care of. But single payer is another word which doesn’t often escape the lips of the oligarchs, as this article makes clear:

        As a big healthcare policy debate looms once again in Washington, one thing remains as certain as it was in 1993: A single-payer plan that would provide government health insurance to everyone is off the media agenda.

        CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen recently explained why healthcare “reform” is more possible now than it was under the Clinton administration (3/5/09):

        Fifteen years ago you sometimes heard-actually you heard quite a bit-people saying: “Let’s have a single-payer system like in Canada. The government is going to be the health insurer for everybody.” You don’t hear that as much as you used to. So more people are on the same page more than they once were. Cohen is right that there were many people in favor of single-payer 15 years ago; as Extra! pointed out back then (7-8/93), polls consistently found majorities supporting tax-financed national health insurance. And the numbers today? A January New York Times/ CBS poll (1/11-15/09) found 59 percent in favor of government-provided national health insurance. In other words, contrary to Cohen’s claim, people are on pretty much the same page today as they were 15 years ago.

        Her suggestion that it was those loud single-payer voices that stymied “reform” is likewise unfounded; as Extra! reported in 1993, corporate media were then solidly behind the Clinton administration’s big insurer-friendly “managed competition” plan-single-payer was hardly discussed in the press. (“The debate over healthcare reform is over. Managed competition has won,” the New York Times had already editorialized on October 10, 1992. “The outcome is as wondrous as it is surprising.”)

        And just as big media silenced single-payer back then, Cohen and her colleagues continue the tradition today. In the week leading up to Obama’s March 5 healthcare summit, hundreds of stories in major newspapers and on NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and PBS’s NewsHour mentioned healthcare reform, according to a recent FAIR study (3/6/09). But the idea of single-payer was mentioned only 18 times-and only five of those included the views of single-payer advocates.

  4. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2009 7:28 am

    Smoke ’em if you got ’em. And then eat ’em. Ha!

    The teachers wanted persuasive.

    And they got it.

    At the end of his speech Tuesday urging legalization of marijuana, a 17-year-old Peninsula High School student pulled out a joint, lit it and smoked away. Then he ate the remains.

    For that he got a quick escort to the school office and then a ride to Remann Hall juvenile jail.

    The stunt was celebrated among some of the teen’s peers but was frowned on to say the least by law enforcement officers and district administrators.

    “We believe in freedom of speech and encourage it, but illegal activities are absolutely not going to be tolerated in our district,” schools Superintendent Terry Bouck said.

    Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said, “If people want that law changed, they need to go about it the right way.”

    He did admit, though, that the student’s action will prompt discussion.

    “It sure will probably bring a lot of attention to the issue,” Troyer said.

    More earworm remedy:

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 4, 2009 10:33 am

      Hah! As kids we used to smoke hash in bongs made from apples and then eat the evidence. Good for cotton mouth too! This is something I could see Jack JSR do!

      You missed it last night. Jack and Pinche were doing this live video blog chat thing from their homes on the front page of fsz. They talked (with shitty microphones) and everyone else could type at them. It was hilarious. Got to meet Jack’s wiener dogs too, yappy things! :) I’m certain there will be a reprisal. Stay tuned.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 4, 2009 11:35 am

        I did miss that. Sounds pretty cool. What time did they do it? I passed out on the couch in the middle of Jon Stewart last night.

        • Stemella permalink*
          June 4, 2009 12:16 pm

          Pinche started it up at around 10 Eastern I guess and then it took about an hour to get the video and audio working right before Jack went live. It went on for an hour or so after that. They took it down because it had “plans” in it. Pinche needs to get a better mic setup before operation trojan pootie commences ;)

          Neither one of them sounds like a New Yawkah or even a Texan! It was pretty funny though, surreal even.

  5. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2009 7:43 am

    Bankruptcy filings are up to 6,000 per day and this is after the 2005 law that made it harder for people to declare bankruptcy. If it weren’t for that, filings would likely be even higher.

    Consumer and commercial bankruptcy filings are on pace to reach a stunning 1.5 million this year, according to a report from Automated Access to Court Electronic Records.

    While well below the record 2 million filings in 2005, the number of filings is up sharply from last year’s 1.1 million, says Robert Lawless, professor of law at the University of Illinois.

    Bankruptcy filings took a dramatic nose dive after a 2005 bankruptcy reform measure was signed into law to curb bankruptcy abuse and make it harder to erase debts.

    ~snip~

    n May, the number of bankruptcy filings reached 6,020 a day, up from 5,854 in April, AACER says.

    More debt-laden consumers are turning to consumer credit counseling services for assistance. But credit counselors say that it’s harder than ever to help them.

    “People are coming to us in much worse shape than they used to be,” says David Jones, president of the non-profit Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. “We used to be able to help 20% to 25% of people who came to us, and now we can only help 7% to 8%.”

    But I’m sure recovery is just around the corner….

  6. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2009 7:57 am

    Rather than just throwing the label “Taliban” on every brown person with a beef with the US, here’s some real journalism about one Afghani man Jalaluddin Haqqani.

    Texas congressman Charlie Wilson, who worked closely with the anti-Soviet insurgency (inspiring the 2007 Tom Hanks film “Charlie Wilson’s War”), once called Haqqani “goodness personified.”

    That was then. Now he seems pretty ticked off at the good ol’ US of A. Worth reading the whole article which also mentions ties to Pakistan’s ISI. Supposedly the ISI is an agency of the Pakistani government which supposedly is helping us. However the ISI from what I’ve read over several years basically does what the ISI wants to do and they aren’t particularly friendly towards Western interference in their zone of influence.

  7. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2009 8:36 am

    Great article from Michael Moore about what we should be doing with GM. He calls for factories to be converted to produce mass transit systems, environmentally friendly cars, windmills, etc, keeping US workers employed by doing so rather than shipping more jobs to China, and raising the gas tax to pay for these things. Sounds good to me.

  8. cometman permalink*
    June 4, 2009 9:23 am

    Brilliant essay on our American Empire that none dare admit to by Tom Engelhardt , done in the form of a commencement address. A small snippet:

    Now maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. After all, isn’t this just how imperial powers like to operate: as if they owned the planet, or at least had special rights that overruled the locals when it comes to significant hunks of prime real estate?

    Which brings us to a word I haven’t said yet, the real subject of my speech today: Empire. It’s the word no one in Washington can say. Its absence from our political discussion is perhaps what makes the United States imperially unique, and yet without it, some crucial part of the real world is missing in action too, some part of what might help us understand ourselves and others.

    Words denied mean analyses not offered, things not grasped, surprise not registered, strangeness not taken in, all of which means that terrible mistakes are repeated, wounding ways of acting in the world never seriously reconsidered.

    Think of a crucial missing word as a kind of invisible straight jacket. Its absence, oddly enough, chains you to the present, to what’s accepted and acceptable. Just two missing syllables, em-pire, making up a word that’s proved so serviceable for so many centuries. And yet, without it, our American world is a little like the one in the sci-fi movie The Matrix. You remember, it’s the one where human beings imagine themselves moving and acting in a perfectly real land, while their actual bodies are stored somewhere far more grim. One question to ask yourself as you form your processional to leave these grounds that have sheltered you these last years might be: Do you have any idea what world you’re walking into? If essential terms for describing it are missing, can you even know? And no less important, do you want to know?

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 4, 2009 10:41 am

      I’m going to print this one to read. Looks very good.

      While I’m here, I saw a story on Baseline to share Legacy Loan Program Called Off

      This part of Timmy’s PPIP program is dust in the wind, only dust in the winnnnnnnd! (there’s an earworm from my arsenal! :) ) ie -failure

      Just last week at least some banks wanted to participate in the program – to buy assets from themselves. Once Sheila Bair rejected that idea, I guess they lost interest. Essentially the stress tests placed a big government stamp of approval on their balance sheets, so their current strategy is to wait out the recession and hope the prices of their legacy loans recover. There’s no downside risk, because if the economy gets worse and they ever need to unload those loans, they can count on the plan being resurrected.

      I guess we were, however, wrong to worry about inter-bank collusion in the legacy loans program.

      (Note that this does not apply to the legacy securities program, which may still be going ahead.)

      • cometman permalink*
        June 4, 2009 11:49 am

        That is good news. Not surprising they’d get no takers if they couldn’t rig the system. So for now at least-

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